2018 James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs

The World in Crisis: A Call to Activism

The World Crisis a call to activism

Monday and Tuesday, October 22-23, 2018
Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room

    Many issues that shape the nature and quality of our lives have an international dimension. Today’s economic interdependence, the development of appropriate environmental strategies, the resolution of regional conflicts, social inclusion, and the enhancement of human rights all require a global perspective. Important aspects of the educational experience include discussion and interaction with people from diverse cultures. For this reason, the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs explores themes that highlight the interconnected nature of the global community and illustrates those connections on all levels of our society.
     This year’s conference theme, The World in Crisis: A Call to Activism, grew out of a desire to promote student action in the face of problems that at times seem to be growing beyond our control. We cannot close our eyes to the daily crises that beset our reality and demand greater levels of commitment and more fervent activism. The conference, therefore, will highlight the heroic work of individuals and groups that are making a difference and changing the world for the better in an attempt to elucidate not only a range of activist groups to join but also strategies for creating new groups and movements in places where there is a need.
     The conference will address such challenges at all levels: global to local, environmental, political, economic, social, and cultural. One keynote speaker takes on what is perhaps the most all-encompassing crisis to face our planet: climate change. Others, however, will address ongoing crises relating to immigration, human rights, health, education, war and foreign relations.
     These crises cannot be resolved only by governments and political organizations. They require also the committed and concerted activism of individual citizens. Colleges and Universities have always been at the center of social change. Thus, we call on our students to ACT NOW! We ask that they hold society and politicians accountable for the crises that threaten our planet and democratic system and that they devise new and innovative solutions to ensure a stable and sustainable future for all.
     Through the information provided at this conference, we hope to introduce UNK faculty, students, and the broader Kearney community and beyond to existing options for activism. It is our hope that members of the audience will be sufficiently inspired by what they hear at the conference to maintain a lifelong interest in international affairs.